Joseph was a very intel­li­gent, gre­gar­i­ous, and hap­py young man as a Scout in my Troop. The thing that amazed me about him was his innate abil­i­ty to medi­ate and dif­fuse dis­cord and con­tention. Every once in a while, an argu­ment would break out and there was Joe, step­ping in to resolve it.
 
I knew some­day he would be the Senior Patrol Lead­er, and that day came.
The night he was elect­ed I had him stand up in front of the whole troop, and I com­mit­ted him to get his Eagle Scout. Joseph nev­er earned the rank.
 
Joseph went on to serve for me as an out­stand­ing staff mem­ber at Maple Dell in the sum­mer of 2001.  He then went away for sev­er­al years to serve as a mis­sion­ary for his church. He returned home, got mar­ried, and start­ed a fam­i­ly.
 
Joseph works in Las Veg­as now for the City as Sub­ject Mat­ter Expert in Tech­nol­o­gy and Code and Pro­gram writ­ing.
 
One day, he called me on the phone, and asked if he could come and vis­it. I was excit­ed to see him, and expressed my encour­age­ment and enthu­si­asm.
 
When he showed up, he shook my hand, sat down and shared a few expe­ri­ences with me. It was heart-warm­ing. Then he start­ed to cry. At first it wasn’t much, but after he real­ly start­ed sob­bing.
 
I calmed him down and asked what was wrong. He said, “I promised you I would get my Eagle Scout, and I didn’t do it!”
 
I smiled, and asked if he knew the Scout Oath and Law. He prompt­ly respond­ed, “Yes!” and recit­ed the words back to me. I asked if he could share with me the Scout Slo­gan. “Yes,” he said. Once again, he recit­ed it. 
 
He then men­tioned, “Just the oth­er day I was putting shop­ping carts away at Wal Mart and got fun­ny looks because I wasn’t an employ­ee!”
 
We both chuck­led and then I said, “It worked!”
 
“What worked?” he asked.
 
“The Scout­ing Pro­gram.”
 
I then explained that while get­ting an Eagle is impor­tant (and we want all our young men to strive to achieve that), Scout­ing isn’t about rank advancement—that is sim­ply a Method. Scout­ing is about build­ing char­ac­ter in young men—that is one of its Aims!
 
As soon as I said that, it was like watch­ing a ton of bricks fall off of his shoul­ders. He sat up straight, round­ed out his shoul­ders, said good-bye, and vir­tu­al­ly float­ed out the door. Today, Joseph is suc­cess­ful and thriv­ing. He is a won­der­ful man, con­tribut­ing to his fam­i­ly, com­mu­ni­ty and church.
 
Con­trast this with a recent sto­ry of Ricar­do Valen­cia, anoth­er young man who was found dead in a church park­ing lot in Gun­nison Utah, Jan­u­ary 31st at the age of twen­ty-one.
 
The news report read, “After con­duct­ing a pre­lim­i­nary inves­ti­ga­tion, police said they believe Valen­cia had been at a par­ty at a house on the 100 N block of Gun­nison, where alco­hol and pos­si­bly ille­gal drugs were used. Accord­ing to a state­ment from Gun­nison PD, Valen­cia is believed to have been involved at a con­fronta­tion at the par­ty and police received a report that he punched through a glass win­dow, which caused a sev­ere lac­er­a­tion and bleed­ing.”
 
This occurred only one day after get­ting out of pris­on. I checked to see if he was one of ours. Sure enough, he was a reg­is­tered Scout in my Dis­trict. He earned his swim­ming mer­it badge and achieved the Sec­ond Class rank.
 
But some­where around the age of four­teen, he dropped off. We lost track of him. Scout­ing was no longer part of his devel­op­ment. It is a tragedy.
 
When a young man joins a Scout Unit, lead­ers are con­sis­tent­ly involved, the Aims of Scout­ing are taught, and inter­nal­ized. They become a life com­pass that guides and directs a young man in his life choic­es.
 
In Josephs words, “they tread a path… as if walk­ing a trail over and over…” It becomes part of who, and what they are as they grow into men.
 
I feel so priv­i­leged to have been the Scout­mas­ter of Troop 398 with Joseph, Trevor, Zach, Bryce, Trent, Cody, Chris, Ben, and all the rest of my boys. The div­i­dends of their life exam­ples to me then and now, keep bring­ing me “pay­days” that I cher­ish.
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Here to tell the world the good news of Scouting. Stories are found from across the nation and the world how Scouting influences the lives of young people.

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